April 30, 2014
NC State men's soccer heads into the 2014 regular season next fall with a promising outlook, following a successful 6-2-1 campaign during the spring and the introduction of the No. 3 ranked recruiting class in the nation on the horizon.
The team carries a motto "Opportunity is what your preparation allows you to make of it," and treated its spring as direct preparation for the fall season.
"The spring season is a development phase where we strive to get better at what we already do well," said NC State head coach Kelly Findley. "We want to experiment with tactics and give players a chance to develop through training and scrimmages that we treat like matches."
The staff at NC State focuses on player development through three phases in the spring, with the intention of best preparing the squad for the rigorous fall calendar and their continued careers into the professional ranks.
The preparation begins with the winter phase, which focuses on speed and strength by incorporating Futsal, a variant of soccer played on smaller indoor fields popularized in South America. The coaches emphasize foot speed and technique by employing the close quarters of the Futsal pitch. A soccer specific workout regimen compliments this training, concentrating on multi-joint movements as well as power.
The transition phase follows, which builds a team dynamic through small group training.
"We'll work with groups of players based on their proximity to each other during games," said Findley. "We build with individual training, then make sure each unit is cooperating properly. The focus is to make them better at their role through position specific training and small group work."
The final phase is the spring, which NC State just completed with a 6-2-1 final record. The staff treats these games as a mini-season featuring one or two matches a week, with the focus of putting those small group elements on the field in matches.
Opponents included two professional teams, other Division I opponents and a foreign team on tour. Quality leadership was provided by newly appointed captains, Ryan Metts and Holden Fender, as well as the rising seniors.
"While results always matter for a team with lofty goals," said Findley, "our focus is on getting better and playing to our standard in the spring. We learned how hard we can work, and how good we can be with a BLUE COLLAR and TEAM FIRST attitude. If we allow complacency to creep in, we simply won't be successful. From a growth standpoint in both our team mentality and on-field play, we had a great spring."